Legal Nigeria

Fed Govt expecting 2m litres of petrol from Port-Harcourt refinery – Minister

The federal government has said that the Port-Harcourt refinery would begin operation by producing two million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol and 2.2 million litres of diesel per day.

The government said this after an inspection tour of the facility along with the leadership of organised labour.

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, who disclosed this, said the refinery was 80 percent completed.

She explained that the old plant would begin with 54,000 barrels per day, while the new plant which is currently going through its last phase of completion would also begin production before the end of the year.

“The combined capacity of the two plants, when fully on stream, would produce 10 million litres of PMS per day,” Onyejeocha said in a statement issued by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun on Thursday.

A scheduled visit to the Port-Harcourt refinery was one of the points listed in the 16 – points agreement reached with the government last year by organised labour.

The minister reiterated the government’s commitment to social dialogue with organized labour and other stakeholders towards achieving industrial peace and harmony, while prioritising workers’ welfare.

She appealed to union leaders to see the strike as the last option.

The minister said: “Issuing of constant strike threat could send wrong signals to potential investors. This is not healthy for our business environment.”

According to the statement, the minister met with the leadership of TUC to review the progress reports of agreements reached in October 2023 between the government and organised labour.

“During the review, the minister read each item on the memorandum of understanding among which were the payment of four out of six months on wage award, the committee of minimum wage review, payment of outstanding salaries and wages of tertiary education workers in federal- owned educational institutions, suspension of VAT on diesel, payment of N25,000 conditional cash transfer to 3,140,819 households, including the pensioners.

“While she said the government has made a huge financial commitment to the provision of CNG Buses and conversion Kits, she also explained that the procurement process was slowing down the launch but measures were already in place to fast-track the process.

“The minister explained that the government has commenced a series of engagements with relevant stakeholders on tax incentives, just as the leadership crises rocking NURTW and RTEAN have been resolved.

“Among the progress made are subsidized distribution of fertilizers to farmers across the country, government’s engagement with various state governments and the private sector on the issue of the implementation of wage award for their workers, and plans to encourage MSEs in the country to create jobs and boost the economy.

“Speaking on the inspection visit to the Port-Harcourt refinery by TUC and federal government delegation, the minister said reports by organized labour and government established that the Port-Harcourt refinery is 80% completed,” the statement said.

The leadership of TUC led by its Secretary General, Nuhu Toro commended the government for the progress recorded so far in implementing a substantial part of the agreement, but differed with the government on some of the items.

He said, for instance, that while the issue of RTEAN has been resolved, that of NURTW has not been resolved.

“If the issue of the president of the union has not been resolved, it suggests that the issue of NURTW has not been resolved.

“You have carefully done justice to the items, and we commend you and the federal government, but we expect fulfillment of all the agreements,” said Nuhu Toro.

He said some of the items have not been fully implemented but from their own assessment, the government has achieved 50% implementation. 

According to Toro, “50% is a pass mark, but we urge you to do more. We know there are challenges, but we are very optimistic that they could be addressed”.

While the minister disagreed with the 50% rating by the union, citing reasons, Comrade Toro said 50% is a good performance on the side of the government.

Deputy President of TUC, Kayode Alakija, thanked the minister for her consistency with union leaders and appealed to her to back some of the gray areas with data to reconcile them.

He said: “We will appreciate it if you back up the VAT with empirical data. You said you got the information from the office of the Finance Minister. So, we would appreciate it if they could supply you with data on how they arrived at the information.”

Among those present at the meeting were the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Ismail Abubakar; the Director of Trade Union Services and Industrial Relations, M A. Yusuf and other directors and departmental heads of the ministry.

On the side of the TUC, were its Secretary General, Toro, its Vice President, Alakija Kayode, Deputy President, and two others.

Source: The Nation